William John Zeck died on Nov. 21, 2020, at home and with family, after a long and full life. He is survived by his wife Anne Zeck; his younger brothers John Zeck (partner Linda Lovelace) and Theodore Zeck; children Bryan Zeck (m. Carrie Walker), Kevin Zeck (m. Lisa Confehr), and Lauren Trew (m. Michael Trew); grandchildren Ethan and Ronan Walker-Zeck (Bryan), and Harper and Amelia Zeck (Kevin); cousins Kathleen Johann and Carl Johann, Jr.; and numerous other relatives whom he loved.
Bill, as he was known to family and friends, was born on March 18, 1947, to Walter Andrew Zeck and Anne Marie (Duncan) Zeck in Eau Claire, Wisc. He grew up in a one-bedroom house with three brothers. He was particularly fond of his older brother (Dwight, deceased 2013), playing cowboy as a young child, and fishing trips with his father. He also participated in the Boy Scouts, ultimately earning the rank of “Life” Scout. And he once used his scouting skills to rescue his father during a fishing trip, one of the moments in his life he viewed most proudly.
Bill was also very fond of his high school years. During that time, he took to restoring cars, including a Chrysler DeSoto that turned out beautifully. Bill was also no slouch academically; in 1965, he graduated with honors from Eau Claire Memorial High School.
Although his family came from limited means, neither he nor his brothers would allow themselves to be defined by that circumstance. Instead, Bill worked his way to and through college, ultimately graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in architecture.
As a highlight of his college years, Bill spent a semester abroad in the University of Illinois architecture program based in France. As part of that semester he traveled throughout Europe, including to the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece and Hungary.
After college, Bill worked at several architectural firms on the East Coast, before moving to Madison, Wisc. and working with his older brother Dwight for a time.
In 1977, Bill and his ex-wife Una moved to Spokane, Wash., where Bill and Una raised three children, Bryan, Kevin, and Lauren, and where Bill decided to open his own architectural firm, ultimately founding the successful company Zeck Butler Architects with Rod Butler in the mid-1980s. Bill was proud of his architectural work at ZBA, especially his work on housing for underfunded communities in Eastern Washington.
In his later years, Bill reconnected with his high-school sweetheart, Anne, and the two married in 2006. During the last 14 years, they enjoyed nature and raising and training dachshunds. Bill and Annie have had several of their dogs compete in field trials and nose work competitions, an activity in which Bill took much joy.
Bill retired from Zeck Butler Architects in 2009, nearly 25 years after he co-founded it. He enjoyed retirement greatly. Among other things, he designed a beautiful home on Whidbey Island, Wash., into which he and Annie moved in 2012. Over the last eight years, they grew to love “island life” and became enmeshed in the Whidbey community. Bill also got to see his children graduate from professional schools; establish careers in physics, patent law and medicine, and, most importantly, get married and establish families.
Bill was defined by his warmth, humor, will and goodness. He loved his family very much.
He died after a prolonged battle with lung career. He fought the cancer with the same dogged will that he exemplified throughout his life, but was unable to defeat it.
Bill will be missed dearly.
A virtual celebration of life is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 13, 2020. Please email to BillZeck CelebrationofLife@gmail.com if you wish to attend.
In lieu of flowers, Bill’s family asks that donations be made to WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care via https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink. aspx?name=E113978& id=1.
WhidbeyHealth provided excellent palliative care for Bill in his final days here on Earth.